Alex Smith

Health Reporter

Alex Smith began working in radio as an intern at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. A few years and a couple of radio jobs later, he became the assistant producer of KCUR's magazine show, KC Currents. In January 2014 he became KCUR's health reporter.
 

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KC Currents
11:41 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Church Hosts Rally For Economic Opportunity And Equity

Rev. Herbert Davis speaks passionately about personal responsibility.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage was four years ago. Last week’s anniversary ofthat legislation prompted many to push for higher minimum wages around the country in places like FtLauderdale, Seattle and Boston. Here in Kansas City, church activists have been organizing their own fight for higher wages and greater economic opportunity. On Thursday, July 25th in the Washington-Wheatly neighborhood, they held a rally to build support for their cause.

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Religion
4:37 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Atheist And Agnostic Summer Camp Launches In Kansas City

Camper Lexi finishes high ropes course.

Every summer, young people in the area can attend camps for everything from pottery to ecology to

modeling. And this year, there’s a new place for parents to send kids. It’s a secular summer camp with a focus on science and critical thinking.

A camp like any other

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KC Currents
1:56 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Paddlefish Caviar, Frida & Diego, Rural Librarian

A sample of caviar produced by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Credit Ryan Schuessler / KCUR

KC Regional Health Assessment Finds Rising Rates of Obesity, Poverty

Since 2000, poverty in the metro area has increased by 75 percent. A quarter of the population is currently uninsured or on Medicaid.  And the number of elderly people in the area will double in the next three decades. Those are just a few of findings in a new regional health assessment produced by the Mid-America Regional Council.

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KC Currents
11:01 am
Mon July 15, 2013

KC Regional Health Assessment Finds Rising Rates of Obesity, Poverty

Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. serves many low-income families in the area.
Credit Voidxor / Wikimedia--CC

The REACH Healthcare Foundation recently released the Kansas City Regional Health Assessment, that analyzes health data from the area from 2000 to 2011, and offers a forecast of what’s in the future for health in Kansas City.

"The poverty rate has been increasing in the metropolitan area, and generally it's been especially increasing in suburban areas," says author and Government Innovations Forum Director for the Mid America Regional Council, Dean Katnerdahl. "So there's sort of a suburbanization of poverty."

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Health
10:46 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Committee Explores Medicaid Expansion In Independence

Brian Kinkade of Missouri's Department of Social Services explains Medicaid to a panel in Independence.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Opponents to expanding Medicaid in Missouri worry about costs, but supporters say expansion is needed to help children, the disabled and elderly. The two sides sounded off on July 10 in Independence, Mo.

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KC Currents
12:17 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Treece, Kan., Fast Pitch Softball, Grand Marquis

Credit Zack Lewandowski / KCUR

Kansas City International Airport Weighs Proposed Changes

Kansas City International Airport is looking at a potentially major change: tearing down the current three terminals and moving to a single, new terminal on the site of the current terminal A. The one terminal idea came to a head in 2008 when the Master Plan called for a new, central terminal south of the current airport. That came just four years after the airport wrapped up nearly $260 million in renovations.

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KC Currents
3:59 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Abortion Lawsuit, Sprint Deal, Gordon Parks School

Credit Payne Roberts / KCUR

Planned Parenthood Sues Kan. Over Free Speech Violation

This month, two different lawsuits were filed in Kansas over a new state abortion law. But the lawsuit that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed on June 20 isn’t about the freedom to perform abortions. It’s about freedom of speech. 

4 Things You Should Know About The Sprint-SoftBank Deal

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KC Currents
2:41 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Planned Parenthood Sues Kan. Over Free Speech Violation

Prevention Park, located in Houston, Texas, is the largest Planned Parenthood administrative and medical facility in the nation.
Credit Hourick / Wikimedia--CC

In June, two different lawsuits were filed in Kansas over a new state abortion law. But the lawsuit that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed on June 20 isn't about the freedom to perform abortions. It’s about freedom of speech.  

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KC Currents
2:04 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

KC Shopping, Wiccans on Solstice, Bloodstone

Credit Ryan Schuessler / KCUR

The show for June 23, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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Health
11:38 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Children's Center Announces $2.3M Grant To Expand Trauma Programs

Credit PraveenbenK / Flickr--CC

The Crittenton Children’s Center Friday announced it was receiving a major grant to help preschool-aged children cope with trauma.

In front of a crowd of around 200 health professionals at the Kaufmann Foundation, Crittenton CEO Janine Hron said that the Center will be able to expand its Head Start – Trauma Smart program thanks to a $2.3 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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KC Currents
5:05 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Rez Downtown Builds Urban Church Community

Rez Downtown welcomes about 900 congregants each weekend.
Credit Resurrection Downtown

The renaissance of downtown that has happened in recent years has attracted more than restaurants and real estate developers. As more and more people have come to live, work and hang out downtown, churches have also had their eyes on the area.

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KC Currents
4:50 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Downtown Resurrection, Harvey Girls, Audio Theater Festival

Harvey Girls waitressed at restaurants along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroads. Many of these women transitioned to other careers after WWII. Opal Jaquess, on the far right side of the first row, is interviewed in the film, Opportunity Bound.
Credit Courtesy of Opal Jaquess

The show for June 16, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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Health
8:22 am
Mon June 17, 2013

UMKC Starts Physician Assistant Degree Program

The UMKC School of Medicine will start accepting applications for a new physician assistant master's degree program. This follows the governor recently signing a bill that would allow physician assistants to operate more independently.

Under the law signed by Gov. Jay Nixon last month, physician assistants in Missouri will only need to be supervised by a physician four hours for every 14 days on the job. Previously, they needed to be supervised two thirds of their time.

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KC Currents
3:58 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Fiddler Betse Ellis Goes Solo

Fiddler Betse Ellis.
Credit Paul Andrews

For 15 years, fiddler Betse Ellis helped lead and shape the Wilders, an internationally-known old-time country quartet which, for years, toured the US and Europe.

But in December of 2011, the Wilders announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus. Ellis, however, is still going as strongly as ever. She stopped by KCUR this week to talk about her solo career, her new CD, and give us a live, in-studio performance.

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KC Currents
11:15 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Right To Farm, Estate Sale Photos, Betse Ellis

Credit Gloria Baker Feinstein

The show for June 9, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
10:46 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Spelling Bee Sisters, Streetcar Update, Blues Singer Cassie Taylor

Vanya Shivashankar, right, talks with older sister Kavya after the final round of the 2013 Scripps national Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., on May 30. Kavya, who helped coach Vanya for this year's competition, won the Bee in 2009.
Credit Credit Mark Bowen / Scripps National Spelling Bee

The show for June 2, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
10:41 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Cell Phone Warning, Clay Studio, Barista Champ

The Boys Grow group brings up water for the plants.
Credit Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Joplin Optimistic In Recovery, Anxious To Help In Moore, OK

Last week’s massive tornado in Moore, Oklahoma came almost exactly two years after another EF-5 tornado ripped through Joplin, killing 161 people.  Wednesday marked that anniversary, and the city was greeted with near perfect weather.  Thousands came out that day to honor the lives of those lost, and reflect upon the continuing recovery effort.

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KC Currents
4:48 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Johnson County Mosque, Class Of 2013, Janelle Monae

Sandra Perez, senior at De La Salle Education Center, gave the commencement speech at her graduation ceremony.
Credit Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

The show for May 19, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
11:54 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Overland Park Mosque Plans Big Expansion

Image of plans for new Johnson County mosque
Islamic Center of Johnson County

Kansas is home to thousands of Muslims, but just a handful of mosques.

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KC Currents
3:56 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Midtown Superman, Reading The Rock, KC Psychfest

The show for May 12, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
11:51 am
Mon May 13, 2013

KC PsychFest Showcases Experimental Music

KC band Yam Performs at KC Psychfest 2012
Leah Kat O'Connor

Any given weekend, Kansas City, Missouri’s Midtown venues host the city’s biggest music scene, but lot of music lovers get left out of the fun.

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KC Currents
4:19 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

CofC Allows Gay Marriage, 1910 Gardens, Rapper Gee Watts

The Community of Christ church in Independence.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The show for May 5, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
12:29 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Community Of Christ OKs Gay Marriage And Clergy

Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Mo.
Alex Smith KCUR

Whether its NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay, or another politician explaining his “evolving” views on sexuality, recent news headlines seem to reveal Americans’ rapidly changing attitudes toward sexual orientation.

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KC Currents
11:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Concealed Carry In Public Buildings, Library Mashes Up Old And New, Leo Beuerman

A new branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library is built around a historic mansion.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The show for April 28, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
7:42 pm
Sun April 28, 2013

New KC Library Bridges Centuries, Riles Historians

The Woodneath Estate will be part of the new library in the Shoal Creek area of Kansas City.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Say you’re researching for a book report. Or looking up local history. Maybe you want to learn to some do-it-yourself home repair. Chances are good you’ll log on to the internet and get your answers in a few minutes without leaving your chair.

This leaves old-fashioned libraries with a problem: how to get people back to the stacks.

One local library has a unique solution for facing the future by embracing the past. The new branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library literally joins a 21st century building with a pre-Civil War home.

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KC Currents
4:07 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Best of KCC: IHOP in Grandview, Penn Valley Skateboarders, Fado Novato

Nick Soper said he was moving to Kansas City from Liberty to be closer to Penn Valley's Skate Park.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

The show for April 21, 2013 was a special membership drive show featuring some of our favorite stories from the past year. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
11:14 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Photos Of Immigrants, Kansas Renga, 42

The show for April 14, 2013. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
2:26 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Black Israelites, Royals Announcer, Naismith Artifacts

Michael Long talks about his path to joining a Jewish synagogue.
Credit Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

The show for April 7, 2013. Click Listen to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

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KC Currents
12:51 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Mike McCartney: The Voice Of The Royals

Royals announcer Mike McCartney
Mike McCartney

In recent years, baseball games have become highly-produced multi-media events. But despite all the changes technology has brought, two aspects of baseball remain the same: the sport and the announcer.

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